The cold weather hasn’t stopped Toronto home prices from going up.
In February, the average selling price of all home types in the Greater Toronto Area rose from $767,801 to $780,397. That’s a 1.6 per cent increase year over year, according to data released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).
The rising prices can be attributed to a tighter market, as there were 6.2 per cent fewer listings in February compared to last year, but still a steady demand. Roughly 5,000 homes were sold in the GTA last month compared to 5,148 in February 2018, a 2.4 per cent decline year-over-year.
What’s notable is that February saw the biggest monthly sales decline in the past year, dropping by 7.7 per cent from January. As a result, TREB President Garry Bhaura has called for the mortgage stress test be reassessed.
“The [Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions] mandated mortgage stress test has left some buyers on the sidelines who have struggled to qualify for the type of home they want to buy,” Bhaura said in a press release. “The stress test should be reviewed and consideration should be given to bringing back 30-year amortizations for federally insured mortgages.”
Increasing the amortization period from 25 years to 30 could help ease the financial stress of first-time homebuyers thanks to smaller payments. But as more first-time homebuyers enter the market as a result of this, starter home prices could also rise above the average $700,000, Realosophy broker John Pasalis told the Toronto Star.
Based on TREB data, semi-detached homes and condo apartments have both had notable increases in price year-over-year in February. Semis are up 7.5 per cent with an average cost of $794,978, while condos are up 6.9 per cent with an average cost of $555,986.
Townhouses averaged $638,222, up 1.8 per cent year-over-year, while the average detached home cost $963,618.